Officials believe a San Francisco helicopter crash has killed eight firefighters and one pilot involved in battling a wildfire in Northern California. According to an Associated Press news report, the Sikorsky S-61N helicopter was destroyed after it crashed in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Officials have still not been able to pinpoint why the accident occurred. Four others who were in the helicopter suffered severe burns. Two are in critical condition.
Some of the firefighters, including those in the hospital, were reportedly employed by firefighting contractor Grayback Forestry, based in Merlin, Oregon. The helicopter was owned and operated by Carson Helicopters Inc., a Pennsylvania company whose firefighting operations are based in Grants Pass, Oregon.
There are several possibilities for what went wrong and who is responsible for this fatal helicopter accident. Officials are still trying to recover the bodies of the helicopter accident victims from the wreckage. Please keep the victims and their families in your prayers.
Many questions arise out of this incident. Was this a pilot error? Was it an air traffic controller’s error? Was it a maintenance issue? Or was it caused by a defective part? The injured men will get their workers’ compensation benefits. But they and their families will also find out that the benefits they are entitled to through California’s workers’ compensation system are embarrassingly low.
If this helicopter accident and the resulting injuries are the fault of a third party, the injured and the families of the deceased will be entitled to the full measure of compensation – as much as 20 times what the workers’ compensation system will provide. A third party would be the pilot, air traffic control, spotters, whomever was responsible for maintenance of the helicopter and so. A third party is pretty much anyone other than an employer or co-employee.
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